Don’t Oppose Pak-Hurriyat Talks: Mufti30 July 2011
Srinagar: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Saturday expressed contentment over Pakistan leaders meeting with separatists’ leadership, saying “we shouldn’t object to such meetings.” “I am very happy that Pakistan is talking to its own people and Hurriyat leaders here. We shouldn’t object to it. They have not only heard voices of dissent, they have also talked to mainstream leadership. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should recall that during our tenure in 2004, he gave Musharaff autonomy formula and mainstream parties are a part of resolution,” Mufti told a conference of Panchs and Sarpanchs organized by the party at TRC Grounds here. The PDP, which claimed to have won more than 8,000 panch and sarpanch posts out of 15000 posts in the Valley, had organised the conference for the panchs and sarpanchs to press for political resolution of Kashmir issue. Mufti also hailed thaw between India and Pakistan, underlining that it was happy moment for India and people of Kashmir that there was no army rule in Pakistan. “There is no rule of army in Pakistan. There is democratic government in the country. Whenever I met Prime Minister, I told him that you can talk to Nawaz Sherief, Altaf Hussian, Asif Ali Zardari... It is not a small beginning, it is like saying well beginning is half done.. This road will go long way, time for resolution has come, I want to assure you.” Criticizing state authorities for keeping political leaders and youth in jail, Mufti challenged the government to prove a single episode wherein any political prisoner was in jail during his party’s tenure . Mufti demanded concrete steps towards resolving the Kashmir issue and asked the state government to initiate process of revoking AFSPA by withdrawing the Disturbed Areas Act. 'The conference demands that the Centre and state government take steps in right direction for resolution of Kashmir issue,' senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig said while reading the resolution of the conference. The resolution also demanded revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Disturbed Areas Act from the areas of the state where it was not needed. Beig said the state government can initiate the process of revoking AFSPA by withdrawing the Disturbed Areas Act. 'It was the Farooq Abdullah led government (in 1989) which had declared the state as a disturbed area. This led the Centre to invoke the AFSPA in the state. If the state government revokes the Disturbed Areas Act, the AFSPA will have to go also,' he claimed. RESOLUTION: Meanwhile the conference passed two resolutions. The Conference we are holding today is quite significant both for its context and import. Ever since our State was constituted in its present form, this is the first time when citizens at the grass root level were involved in the comprehensive democratic process which resulted in the election of Sarpanchs and Panchs who are privileged to participate in this Conference today. The participants of this Conference are the true and legitimate representatives of the people who have voted for them in overwhelmingly large numbers. These representatives will face great challenges as they will also be blessed with great opportunities. They will hopefully strengthen values, traditions and culture of real democracy at the grass root level in the rural areas. They will empower neglected and marginalized sections and pockets of society, including women. They will ensure equitable and inclusive development of rural habitations. Most significantly, they will consolidate peoples yearning for peace and articulate their demand for a just and permanent solution of the problem of Jammu and Kashmir. Briefly speaking, these representatives ofthe people will enlarge and accelerate our peoples’ journey on the highway of hope and determination, which journey started way backon 28th of July, 1999 when Mufti Mohammed Saeed founded the J&K Peoples Democratic Party and opened new possibilities for our people who were then entrapped in a vicious circle of violence and despair. The participants of this Conference dedicate themselves to Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s vision of a Sub-continent in which India and Pakistan live not merely in a neutral environment of co-existence and tolerance but a warm relationship of co-operation a solidarity-a future in which Jammu and Kashmir is not a wall of hatred but a bridge of love between the two countries. Let us all dedicate ourselves to the great task of shunning violence, spreading love and promoting friendship by adopting PDP’s Self-Rule as a practicable and desirable formula for the solution of Jammu and Kashmir problem. Let us make Mufti Sahib’s dream come true. This Conference notes with great satisfaction the ambience and the outcome of the recent dialogue between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan. We welcome the substantial Kashmir centric confidence building measures including increase in trade and travel facilitiesto genuine tourists across LoC-the demands that we have been consistently making. While this conference is satisfied with the on-going peace talks between India and Pakistan, it notes with dismay the Human Rights situation prevailing in Kashmir. Luckily, this summer has been peaceful, yet hundreds of people are languishing in jails. FIRs have been lodged against thousands of youth whose career is jeopardized for they can never get a job because of this stigma. The killers of scores of innocent young boys are roaming free. None of them has been punished. Judicial intervention is of little avail because disobedience of the court orders is a norm and not an exception. We demand rule of law to which every Indian is entitled under the Constitution. We demand that FIRs lodged against the youngsters during last year’s turmoil be withdrawn. This Conference reiterates PDP’s demand for responsible and responsive withdrawal of Disturbed Areas Act and AFSP Act from areas where they are no longer needed and where their enforcement proves counterproductive by stifling space for peaceful civil society. Even though there have been blacksheep, we recognize and place on record our acknowledgement for the role played by the Armed Forces to contain the situation on ground to facilitate democratic process. Nevertheless, we believe wherever the State police can handle the situation, Armed Forces should be spared.In this connection, we hope the recommendations of the working group headed by Mr. Hamid Ansari, now Hon’ble Vice-President of India, shall be implemented as an efficacious confidence building measure. This Conference endorses the demand of PDP that all the power projects executed by the NHPC in which they have recovered their investment be returned to the State and all other projects allotted to them on inequitable and unconscionable terms be renegotiated by them with the State Government. This Conference recalls with regrets that a resolution making this demand and moved in the Legislative Assembly on 29th August 2009 by MuzaffarHussainBaig on behalf of PDP was rejected by the present Government even though the State Government had everything to gain and nothing to lose by passing of this resolution. This Conference also notes with regrets and extreme disapproval State Government’s decision to handover the management of the J&K Bank to Reserve Bank of India thus compromising the autonomy of this premier institution that belonged to the State and its people. It is a matter of shame that a Party that demands autonomy for the State should have surrendered the autonomy of its paramount financial institution. Last, but not the least, this Conference notes with consternation the total disconnect between the top ruling leadership of the State and the common masses. Corruption is rampant and there is no redressal of grievances. The governance deficit is aggravating by the day. The Government appears to be basking under the reflected glory of the central leadership and is over-indulgent in self-congratulation that this summer is clam. We hope that peace prevails, always. However, we do not take anything for granted. Without addressing basic issues, the present peace may prove to be tenuous and transitory. This Conference calls upon the Governments of India as well as State to wake up to their duties and take the right path. To quote Robert Frost, “The Road not taken makes all the difference.” Cong Leader in PDP Meet Senior Congress leader Ghulam Rasool Kar became a surprise visitor at a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-sponsored conference of newly elected panchs and sarpanchs here today. The incident invited the attention of media personnel and nearly 8,000 panchs and sarpanchs when Kar made his way to the dais where senior PDP leaders, including party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and president Mehbooba Mufti were seated. The presence of Kar, a former Lok Sabha MP and a former president of Pradesh Congress Committee, surprised everyone present at the Panchayat conference as Congress is a junior ally in the coalition government headed by National Conference.